View Full Version : Advice needed for selling my pastel collection

08-14-2016, 12:30 AM
Hi Dusty Folks! I'm a long-time WC denizen who formerly used pastels, but eventually gave them up due to allergies. Some oldtimers in the forum may remember me. I now plan to sell my collection, but have no idea where to start in pricing.

I have a huge collection of Unison, Townsend, Sennelier, Schminke, etc., a lot of Rembrandts, some Art Spectrum and a few each of other assorted brands, as well as Nupastels and a tin of Pitt pastel pencils. About half are in new or near-new condition. Although many of the labels removed, most of them are catalogued with color swatches for easy reordering, which I will try to include. And I also have a can each of Lascaux and Perfix. And finally, I have a few books: Albert Handell's Painting the Landscape in Pastels; Bill Creevy's Pastel Book, and another introductory one.

Is there a pricing formula for used pastels and accessories? What about pastel papers/surfaces (Wallis Museum, Art Spectrum, Canson, etc.)? Does it make more sense to try to sell the whole shebang in their wood storage case, or to sell the original sets (I still have the boxes)? I'd really love to sell it all in just one sale, but maybe that's not realistic. I'd certainly prefer not to sell individual sticks - will it work for me to bundle groups of, say, 10 pastels?

Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!


08-14-2016, 06:45 AM
I have recently moved abroad so I have been selling a lot of my old art supplies. I definitely had more success breaking them up into smaller groups. I only tried to sell one big group that includes a lot of furniture and that took several months to sell but I did eventually sell it. I tried to sell my pastels in one big go on this forum and got zero interest but it seems people have more success selling on this forum when they have smaller sets. I think groups of 10 pastels is probably too much hassle for their worth because you need to think about shipping them out and something like that would have to be in a small box that is quite pricey.

Things lighter than 13oz ship first class for a couple dollars. I would pick up a few of the cheaper priority flat mailers - the bubble wrap one and legal ones are good - and see what you can fit in and consider listing that as a bundle.

For pricing on individual items/sets, the best way to do that is look at your competitors on eBay. Check the "sold listings" box on the left hand side of the screen when you are in the pastel listings section. Useful to see what ACTUALLY sold for how much money. Even if you don't use eBay, this is useful for pricing.

I sold my big lot of stuff and furniture by advertising on Facebook and Craigslist. If you want to try and sell it all together first I would try those. As for pricing on a large bundle, what I usually did was calculate the price I paid for the new or like new items, made sure I got that money back, and then just a rough estimate of the more used items and made sure I got some of that money back.

Edit: I also wanted to mention that I'm glad I didn't successfully sell my pastels. I have allergies pretty much as bad as you can get but I am just sure to wash my hands, change if I get too much dust on myself, and not use them for too long. I haven't had so many problems this way. I also try to use them outside if I can. But as someone who suffers allergies I completely understand how miserable they are and wish you the best of luck selling them.

Moqui Steps
08-14-2016, 08:15 AM
If you don't really need the money (some folks out there seem to have plenty....unlike myself) you might consider finding a local budding artist and either give the set to them or sell it to them for a very low price. Another option would be to donate it to a local school that has a good art program. Depending on the school you might get a tax write off.

If there are any local pastel groups in your area, you could go to one of their meetings and offer the pastels at a great price and probably move them quickly.

08-14-2016, 09:51 AM
I have sold pastels on Ebay. I priced them with no formula aside from what I thought they were worth. If you have some that are in almost new condition, then you might try and sell them separately as you can probably get more for them (perhaps half their original price?). You can see what other sellers are getting for used pastels.

One consideration for selling them, and having to ship them, is how many - or in what type of containers - will fit comfortably in a box to ship. You might divide them up into smaller groups simply because it may be easier to ship that way.

You could try to sell them all in one deal - and if they don't sell that way, then try smaller groups.

You could also put them up for sale in WC's swap shop.


Good luck!


08-15-2016, 11:43 AM
There are some great ideas here...thanks to all who replied!

Laura, I greatly appreciate the feedback on sales and also the useful info regarding mailing, which I had not considered. I suppose I could have the buyer pay the shipping charges to avoid* mailing issues as much as possible. I also had not considered looking at the "sold" auctions on ebay, so that's very helpful as well. I had hesitated to use ebay as a gude for pricing b/c I didn't know sold info was available. Now I'll start there. You're lucky to have found an allergy strategy that allows continued use of soft pastels. In my case, just trying to sort my collection sent me into sneezing fits, so I know I really can't use them. But then, I've always had a problem with dust, which I foolishly chose to ignore when I decided on pastels as my medium (they're just so incredibly beautiful!).

Edit: I went to ebay and tried to find the sold listings, but either they've been eliminated for the mobile version (I mostly use a tablet) or one can't see them unless logged in with an account. Do you know anything about this?

Donald, thanks! No, "plenty of money" is not the case for me either! :lol:

Don, I've never sold on ebay and don't even have an account, but maybe it's something to think about. I guess I'm just unclear on what my used pastels are worth, but it does look like ebay is the place to research that. I have a few sets that contain mostly new or near-new pastels, but may have one or two significantly used or missing ones. I'm thinking that still offering the set and just being completely transparent about what it's lacking may be my best strategy. After all, if I have a set that's worth say, $150 new and $75 used, if intact, but is missing one pastel that sells for $5 new, then I could sell the set for $70 or just a little less and the buyer still would be getting a fair deal. The buyer could just replace the missing one. And the Swap Shop is a good idea too. Is there some way to see the sold items in the swap shop? That might be helpful in determining prices, but there don't appear to be any past listings, only current ones. I appreciate your thoughts regarding packaging and shipping as well. Many thanks!

08-15-2016, 01:58 PM
Annie, try this link: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=pastels&LH_Complete=1&LH_ItemCondition=4&LH_Sold=1&_osacat=28107&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.X.TRS0&_nkw=&_sacat=28107

They are all the sold, used pastels. Keep in mind that if you do sell on eBay, you have to list the "like new" pastels as used. I honestly think you could get more than 50% original price if you are patient and in no rush to sell things. What I would do is set the price I really wanted and then whenever it didn't sell I would relist it a few dollars lower. Eventually it would sell. Sometimes I would have more than one of something and one sells straight away and the next one sells in a couple months for a lot cheaper. You do see people buy things on eBay for more than you can get them at Blick's too, which is always a bit odd. Also, if you do sell on eBay, be sure to mention the possibility of breakage in transit so the buyer is aware of it. I shipped dozens of packages on eBay and I only had problems with two - one got damaged on the way to Canada which makes me think Canada post is not too cautious and one book got completely lost. The Swap Shop is the best place for them but if that doesn't work, eBay is a good idea.

I am sorry to hear your allergies are so bad! I think there are few things more temporarily miserable than sneezing...I'm glad you found success in other mediums, your paintings are lovely.

08-16-2016, 05:11 PM
Definitely post the entire collection in the Swap Shop here on Wet Canvas. If someone lives close you might be able to meet up.

Last year I bought someone's entire collection that I saw in the swap shop, and that's what we did!

Sharon Cave

08-17-2016, 04:25 AM
Laura, thanks for the link. I got some helpful info there. I had actually written a longer message to you last night, and I thought it posted, but when I checked back today, the page opened to an empty message box and the post had disappeared.

Sharon, yes I plan to list my stuff on the Swap Shop. It sounds like you lucked out on that local sale! Thanks!

Mike L
08-22-2016, 01:25 PM
A suggestion I received years ago concerning selling anything used:

Figure out what you would willingly pay for the item(s) if you were buying them. Forget what you paid and how attached you are to them.
Cut that number in half
Be willing to accept half of that.

Seriously. We value what we own, but the value we put on it is not going to be the value others put on it. Also, the current owner has no overhead, payroll, or other commercial/industrial investment in the product.

This has been working for me whenever I sell stuff on Craig's List and back in the day when I sold stuff on Ebay. Also works well at swap meets/flea markets/garage sales. Folks that buy used are looking for a bargain and will seldom pay more than a bargain price - and the buyer knows what a bargain is to them.

Remember, all those high prices on eBay, etc, are asking prices, not final sale prices.


08-31-2016, 12:03 AM
Thanks for the tips, Mike.

I'm still working on this - other things have gotten in the way a bit. Now I'm wondering about packing and shipping. I have original boxes for some, but not all of my pastels, and I was given a few additional small padded boxes by a very nice person at an art supply store. But I haven't ever had to ship anything as fragile as pastels, so any tips to avoid breakge while keeping costs down would be much appreciated. TIA!

water girl
08-31-2016, 12:09 AM
When I order single pastels, or single pastel pencils, they come wrapped in bubble wrap. Something to consider.